With the Summer League over and the NBA season still two months away, we need things to write about. For the Boston Celtics, a new haul of players have joined the team. The Celtics had 4 picks in the 2019 NBA Draft. The rookies in green showed out in Las Vegas during the Summer League, getting the #1 seed for the playoffs, even though they lost in the first round to the eventual champs, the Memphis Grizzlies. Not to mention our free agency signings, the Celtics signed a lot of promising rookies who plan on bringing everything they got to the TD Garden. Let’s go over who we got:
14th Pick: Romeo Langford
Indiana’s 2018 “Mr. Basketball” for high school ball stayed close to home to attend U of Indiana. In his one year for the Hoosiers, he averaged 16.5ppg, leading his team, along with 5.4reb and 2.3ast. He’s also an aggressive and consistent defender, averaging a steal and a block per game at Indy. Langford shot 45% from the field, but only 27% from behind the arc, which could be attributed to the torn ligament in his thumb that he suffered earlier his freshman year, which kept him out of this year’s Summer League.
Pending how he comes back after injuring his thumb and if his shooting stroke will improve, Romeo can fit right into a lot of different lineups for the C’s. If Smart continues to be the 6th man, Langford can slide into the shooting guard position for a small lineup with Kemba, Brown, Tatum at the power forward and Kanter in the middle. Alternatively, by putting him at the small forward spot and putting Smart in at the 2, the backcourt of Kemba, Smart and Romeo would be fast, athletic, and could lock down opposing backcourts. Brad Stevens was very high on Langford long before the draft, and I’m excited to see what he can do when he’s 100%.
Ceiling (max potential): Demar DeRozan with a jump shot, Victor Oladipo
Floor (average potential): Evan Turner
Basement (below expectations): Justin Holiday, Austin Rivers
22nd Pick: Grant Williams
At 6’7”, 240lbs out of Tennessee, Grant Williams is a big body that the Celtics need right now. The two-time SEC Player of the Year, the first to win the award twice in more than 20 years, averaged18.8ppg and 7.5reb, leading his team in both categories. Williams helped the Tennessee Vols to a 31-6 record and advancing to the Sweet 16 before losing to Purdue, led by fellow Celtic rookie Carsen Edwards. While he is still working on expanding his jump shot, Williams shot around 57% from the field his junior year for the Vols. He also averaged a steal and 1.5 blocks per game.
Grant Williams brings rebounding and post-scoring to Boston, two things they desperately needed. Especially after the departure of Horford and trading away Baynes (still upset about it), the Celtics need bigger guys down low to help out on the boards. Boston was in the bottom half of the league in terms of rebounding, so acquiring big men who can get rebounds way key for this offseason. Williams is also a very skilled low-post scorer and can score at will from on the block. Boston had almost no low-post presence last year, with Horford doing a majority of the scoring in the paint (not including dribble drives). Williams can easily fit into the power forward position on the Celtics, either in the starting lineup or to provide rebounding and easy points off the bench, or could be one of the next great small-ball centers.
Ceiling: Draymond Green with a consistent offense
Floor: Bam Adebayo, Paul Millsap
Basement: Jared Sullinger
33rd Pick: Carsen Edwards
One of the biggest surprises of the Summer League this year was Carsen Edwards, second-round pick out of Purdue, averaging almost 20ppg for the Celtics in Las Vegas. But Edwards has always been a scorer, as we say in this year’s NCAA Tournament. Helping Purdue reach the Elite 8, scoring 42 against the defending champs Villanova, even beating his future teammate, Grant Williams, and Tennessee, and lit up the eventual champs, the University of Virginia for 42 points AGAIN, making 10 three-pointers, but lost by 5. Edwards consistently improved his game every year at Purdue. He improved his ppg by +8 going into his sophomore (from 10ppg to 18.5ppg), then improving to average 24.4ppg his junior year before declaring for the draft.
With the departure of a bum named Kyrie and trading away Terry Rozier, the Celtics needed to fill the point guard position. Apart from Kemba, Carsen Edwards was an incredible pickup for a backup point guard. The Celtics needed consistent scoring off the bench, and Edwards is the perfect guy to fit that role. Celtics fans can look at him as the next Isaiah Thomas; a bit undersized, but still a walking bucket. While Isaiah was a starter for Boston, Edwards can learn to model his game under Brad Stevens, like Isaiah Thomas did when he was traded to Boston, and develop into a similar star as IT. It’s only up for this kid.
Ceiling: Celtics Isaiah Thomas, Damian Lillard
Floor: Fred Van Fleet
Basement: Cavaliers Isaiah Thomas
51st Pick: Tremont Waters
The Celtics picked up another underrated point guard in Tremont Waters out of LSU. Waters was a leading force for the Tigers, averaging around 15.5ppg, 6ast and 2.5stl per game through two seasons playing in Baton Rouge, and was awarded All-SEC First Team his sophomore year. During his second season, he was able to make it to the NCAA Tournament, beating Yale and Maryland before losing to Michigan State in the Sweet 16.
Waters is a slippery guard who can create offense for himself and others. With his shifty ball-handling, pesky perimeter defense and fantastic passing vision, he could fight Carsen Edwards for the backup point guard position. Both him and Edwards, who are both a bit undersized for the modern-day point guard position (as we see taller and taller players who play point guard), have a lot to fight for if they want to get their minutes.
Ceiling: Chris Paul
Floor: a shorter Gary Harris
Basement: Jeremy Lin, Yogi Ferrell
Signed Rookie: Tacko Falls
The man, the myth, the legend. I can’t imagine a Celtics single fan, or basketball fan, didn’t have a smile on their face after hearing Tacko made it to the NBA. At 7’7, with a wingspan of 8’2 and almost 300 pounds, Tacko was a force at UCF. From Senegal and with no interest in playing basketball, Fall, who’s first love was soccer, didn’t play an organized basketball game until he was 16. As he grew, physically and as a player, he even got to train under Hakeem Olajuwon.
What does Tacko bring to the Celtics? One thing that we haven’t had a lot of in years: height. As the tallest player in the NBA on an active roster, Tacko’s height is perfect for our poor low-post defense and rebounding. While he may not be able to handle playing more than 25 minutes in the NBA due to his size, a giant role player would be a giant improvement to the Celtics. With great defensive IQ and improvable low-post scoring, with the right training, watch out for Tacko Fall off the bench this year.
Ceiling: Manute Bol
Floor: Boban Marjanovic
Basement: Hasheem Thabeet